Thank you for 8 amazing years!

February 3, 2011

Where were you Monday, February 3, 2003 at about 10AM?

That was the time, 8 years ago today; that the “activate now” box was ticked, turning on the worldwide central reservation system for what is now the world’s largest independent hotel group, and the 8th largest global hotel company!

The action took place on an old lime green iMac computer on a cheap desk underneath the window in then 6 year-old Frankie Magnuson’s bedroom in Colbert WA. Directly to the right of the computer was a $69.00 fax machine from Staples. That winter morning, Melissa and I started Magnuson Hotels with one website, 12 hotels who were friends and family and great kids providing captive labor.

We had an idea that we could build a way for hotel owners to do a little better without having to pay the financial and emotional price of going through big corporate hotel chains. Imagine hotels getting to put their own names up in lights instead! Imagine small town hotels competing on the same global stage as Hilton and Marriott.

What we didn’t know was how big the idea would become, and by early afternoon the FAX machine in Frankie Magnuson’s bedroom started receiving reservation forms. Our first 12 hotels were located in Idaho, Washington, Montana Oregon and British Columbia, but guests were booking from everywhere. Even some from Europe.

As we were downstairs cooking dinner that night, we would all stop whenever the FAX machine rang, and run upstairs to see where the next Magnuson Hotels guest was booking from. It rang and rang, and the first few nights nobody in the house could sleep! We finally had to redirect the faxes so that everyone could calm down.

I worked upstairs during the day managing bookings for our clients and calling new hotels, while Frankie played Legos on the floor. Melissa ran the financials and marketing from the lavishly appointed basement office. Whenever a client would call, we would have to run up and down the stairs to tell each other, because our Wal-Mart phone didn’t have an intercom or call forwarding. Our daughter Emily would stuff marketing envelopes each night after school, and our son Adam helped us with advertising and design. Later, our son Jesse would build databases and as Frankie grew, he would proofread press releases.

I don’t know how it happened so fast, but what I do know is that whatever has been accomplished has been because so many friends have shared in the belief that we could become something bigger by working together. Our first employees, Tambra LIberg, Ruth Beeson and Marianne Sutton remember these days. So does Gair Petrie, who drafted up our first business agreements and Dave Clack, Strategic Advisor.

But none of this experience could have begun without the faith of client number one, Paul Jinneman of Boise, Idaho. When we asked Paul if he would consider becoming a member of a hotel group that would have all the power of the biggest chains without any of the huge costs, Paul simply said, “I trust you.”

Melissa and I want to thank our friends, family, bankers, lawyers, accountants, IT partners, and our committed and unbelievably loyal team at Magnuson Hotels for years of hard work and fearless dedication. Most importantly, we want to thank our nearly 2000 hotel owners across North America and the UK. Without the hotel owners, none of this movement would have happened.

So, Melissa and I wish to sincerely say “thank you” to every person who has made this journey possible. There’s a saying in our house. “Be careful what you wish for, it just might come true.”

All the best to you,

Thomas R. Magnuson
Chief Executive Officer
UK Mobile 07593 596941
US Mobile 509.994.2048
US Corporate 509.747.8713
Magnuson Hotels – World’s largest independent hotel group.